name='verify-v1'/>"> MediaTrial: Lawmakers Challenge USDA Statement On Mad Cow Holstein

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lawmakers Challenge USDA Statement On Mad Cow Holstein

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A House committee on Tuesday questioned the government's credibility in the first U.S. case of mad cow disease, quoting three witnesses who denied Agriculture Department claims that the infected Holstein was lame.

The worker who slaughtered the cow, the hauler who delivered it and an owner of the slaughterhouse all recalled seeing the infected animal on its feet, rather than it being the nonambulatory "downer" described by USDA officials.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, the House Government Reform Committee's chairman and senior Democrat said the information challenges the department's assertion that only downer cattle or cows with a twitch indicating something wrong with their nervous system need to be tested.

"If the new information is accurate, USDA's surveillance program may need to be significantly expanded," committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., wrote. "The new information also raises questions about USDA's credibility...

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